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EVIL OF PRIORITIZING CUSTOMS IN RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS



Today, many Muslim parents/guardians in our society are making it difficult for their children and wards to practice the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. For instance, they don't want their boys to cut their trousers above the ankle, they don't want them to grow beards, they are preventing the sisters from using the proper hijab and niqob. They see all these religious dressngs as great threat to their way of life as a people.  Some parents are insisting that their children must kneel down, bend or prostrate while greeting them as a mark of respect contrary to what is established in the Qur'an and Sunnah. Some so called Islamic scholars are not also helping the matter. They give all kinds of excuses in support of their unsunnatic traditions. They twist the verses of the Qur'an and hadiths to suit their premeditated stand to place indegenous customs over the Sunnah of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.

The war against the Sunnah by many of the Muslim parents is becoming so worrisome to the extent that they are now cursing their children for standing upon the Sunnah on all matters. Yet, when the clarion call for who loves the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is made, they would be the first to raise up their two hands. How can we claim to love the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم when we disobey him in his instructions? How do we claim to love the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم when we keep placing our customs and traditions over his sunnah? Many Muslims today are not only disobeying the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم ; they also force your children and wards to disobey him. It was narrated that Anas said: The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

“None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his father, his child and all the people" (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 15; Muslim, 44).

Al-Imam Al-Barbahaaree رحمه الله said in the introduction of his book 'Sharh us Sunnah' that: "Islam is Sunnah and Sunnah is Islam". The best way to exhibit the love of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم is to follow his Sunnah in words and deeds, so that his Sunnah becomes the path we follow in our whole life, and we put his words before any other words and put his commands before everything else; and we should follow the ‘aqeedah (belief) of his noble Companions رضي الله عنهم, and the ‘aqeedah of the Taabi’een who followed them, and the 'aqeedah of those who followed their path until the present day (Ahl al- Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah), and avoid bid’ah (innovations in matters of the deen) even if it has basis in our local customs and traditions. If there is any contradiction between the sunnah and our customs, we should be bold enough to abandon those customs for the sunnah. That is what makes us Muslims.

The Qur'an says in several places:

"O you who believe, obey Allah and His Messenger... "[Al-Qur'an 8:20]
"Say: obey Allah and obey the Messenger ... " [Al-Qur'an 24:54]
"Obey Allah and the Messenger and perhaps you will be shown mercy."[Al-Qur'an 3:132]
"If you obey him, you will be guided ... "[Al-Qur'an 24:54]
"Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah ... "[Al-Qur'an 4:79]
"That what the Messenger brings you and leaves what he forbids you ... "[Al-Qur'an 59:7]
"Whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger is with those whom Allah has blessed." [Al-Qur'an 4:68]
"We did not send any Messenger but for him to be obeyed by the permission of Allah." [Al-Qur'an 4:63]

There are many more verses of the Qur'an stressing the sanctity of obeying the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم  in the practice of this deen. In a hadith: Abu Salamah ibn 'Abdur-Rahman heard Abu Hurayrah saying that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

Whoever obeys me has obeyed Allah. Whoever rebels against me has rebelled against Allah. Whoever obeys my Amir has obeyed me. Whoever rebels against my Amir has disobeyed me [Muslim and al-Bukhari]

In another Hadith, Abu Hurayrah reported the Prophet as having said;

"All of my community will enter the Garden except for those who refuse to." They asked, "O Messenger of Allah, who will refuse?" He replied, "Whoever obeys me will enter the Garden. Whoever rebels against me has refused." [Al-Hakim]

It is important for us to note that the fact that an act had enjoyed a long term practice in our community does not validate it in the shari'ah. Every act, opinion, culture and tradition must not fail to pass the validity tests of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Consequently, any culture or tradition that offends any shari'ah provision for the time being in force shall be null and void and of no effect whatsoever. When some people are advised to follow the sunnah and stop the bid'ah of fidau prayers for the dead, recitation of adhkaar in unison, marriage khutbah, sharing of the Qur'an and reading it in a chorus manner and so on, they would say, that is the way they met their forefathers doing it. Is Islam the religion of our forefathers? We can only accept what our forefathers left if they are in tandem with the Qur'an and Sunnah, otherwise, they are to be rejected.

We have big problem in this part of the world when it comes to the proper practice of our faith. Many people are ignorant of the dictates of the shari'ah. Upon that, they are not willing to learn it, nor are they willing to ask the People of Knowledge as commanded by the Law Giver. That is why we do things the way we like. When would those who don't know the deen accept that they don't know? When would they start leaving matters strictly for the true scholars to solve? When would they realize that this Islam is beyond common sense and personal fabrications? Until and unless we start carrying out our duties towards our Creator as clearly legislated in the Qur'an and Sunnah, we would continue to have problems.

Let us come to think of it, on the of judgement when every one of us would stand naked before our Creator, 'Azza wa Jall, are we going to be judged by our customary laws or the Kitab wa Sunnah? On that Day, all laws would be useless. The only applicable law on that Day is the Qur'an and Sunnah.

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